How To Unlock the Potential in Every Bottle of Wine

How To Unlock the Potential in Every Bottle of Wine

Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or a budding enthusiast, every bottle of wine holds the promise of an extraordinary experience. In this blog, we delve into the fascinating world of wine with a focus on unlocking its full potential. We will share some insider knowledge and handy tips to help you discover the hidden depths within each wine bottle, from the proper storage conditions to handy gadgets and understanding how to taste wine correctly.

Getting The Most Out of Your Bottle of Wine: 5 Tips and Tricks

1. Age Your Wine

Just as we evolve, mature, and improve with age, so does wine. The colour, aroma, taste, and feel of wine all transform over time. Of course, only some readers may have a wine cellar at their disposal, but fortunately, you don’t need one to store and age wine well.

Here are some key considerations when ageing and storing wine at home:

  • Ideal Temperature Ageing Bottle of Wine: Maintain a temperature between 11-14˚c for your wine. Cooler temperatures might dry out the cork, while warmer ones can hasten the ageing process.
  • Light and Your Bottle of Wine: Keep your wine away from direct sunlight to prevent it from going stale prematurely.
  • Positioning The Bottle of Wine: If possible, store your wine horizontally to avoid air leakage into the bottle that could cause premature oxidation.
  • Avoid Disturbances: Minimise disturbances to your bottle of wine. Vibrations can agitate the tannins, which isn’t ideal for long-term ageing.
  • Location Location Location: Avoid storing wine in the kitchen or garage, as these areas experience significant variables in temperature, sunlight, and humidity.
Personal Wine Cellar

Once you’ve identified the perfect spot to store your wine at home, age your wine for approximately two to three years; after this amount of time, you can expect some changes in its flavour profile as it ages. Younger wines usually exhibit more floral and vibrant fruit flavours like black cherry, currant, and boysenberry. In contrast, older wines often develop more savoury, earthy tones like cedar, leather, and autumn leaves.

Ideally, ask the winemaker how long to age the wine as different wines have different ageing potentials. Depending on many factors, some wines shouldn’t be aged longer than 3 years, but some wines can be aged for up to 50 years or more.

2. Aerators: What Do They Do to Your Bottle of Wine?

An aerator serves the purpose of oxygenating a glass of wine to enhance its flavour and aroma. For instance, if a bottle of nice red wine promises notes of cherry, cloves and blackberry, an aerator can accentuate these flavours. It can also mellow particular tastes in the wine, making it more enjoyable.

Wine Aerator

Given that most wine buyers will drink their purchases within months, if not weeks or days, and may not be interested in or have time for wine ageing, an aerator could be pretty helpful. It can reveal the subtleties of certain flavours that would otherwise take years to emerge.

3. Let Your Bottle of Wine Breathe With a Decanter

The process of allowing a wine to breathe varies depending on the wine’s age and how long ago it was bottled. A wine that is less than three years old typically requires little to no breathing time. On the other hand, a wine that’s a decade or older would benefit from an hour of exposure to air.

In terms of letting your wine breathe, you could simply uncork a bottle and let it stand for an hour. If you wish to reduce this time, pouring it into a decanter will expose the wine to more air and surface area. Every wine can benefit from some breathing time. Allowing wine to breathe amplifies its aromatic profile, thereby enhancing your sensory experience.

Pouring Wine into a Decanter

4. Use the Correct Wine Glass for the Bottle of Wine

Red wine glasses are typically taller and have larger bowls compared to white wine glasses. This design encourages more contact between the wine and oxygen. Since red wine often needs more time to ‘open up’, a bigger bowl provides more surface area for the wine to breathe, thus releasing its aroma and flavours.

In contrast, white wine glasses are usually shorter and have smaller bowls compared to red wine glasses. This design brings the wine closer to your nose since the aromas of white wines are generally subtler.

5. Tasting Tips for Your Bottle of Wine

Step 1: On The Nose

It might be challenging initially to look beyond the vinous aroma, but a helpful method is to switch between brief, sharp sniffs and slow, lengthy inhalations. Have a look at the tasting notes and see if you can detect the aromas mentioned by the winemaker.

Bottle of wine - Wine on the Nose

Step 2: Master the Swirl

Swirling wine actually amplifies the release of aromatic compounds into the air. Consider watching a quick tutorial on how to swirl wine properly. Also, pay attention to the legs (the lines that appear on the glass after swirling) as they are an indication of the alcohol or sugar content of the wine and indicate a fuller-bodied or richer textured wine.

Step 3: Discover More Tastes During Sampling Your Bottle of Wine

Consider taking a large sip of wine initially, followed by several smaller ones. This allows you to identify and distinguish flavours. Concentrate on one taste at a time. Always start with broad flavour categories before narrowing down to specific ones, for example, transitioning from the broad category of black fruits to more specific flavours like dark plum, roasted mulberry, or jammy blackberry.

Bottle of Wine: Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Glasses of Wine in a Bottle?

Wine bottle sizes and wine bottle dimensions can differ quite a bit. A typical wine bottle holds 750ml and provides approximately 5 glasses of wine, while a magnum wine bottle, a big bottle of wine) contains 1.5l (twice the size of a standard bottle), offering around 10 glasses of wine.

Cheersing Together

How Many Calories in a Bottle of Red Wine?

A standard bottle of wine contains 5 glasses, and a big bottle (magnum) would then contain 10 glasses of wine. If one glass of wine contains about 133 calories, then a standard bottle of wine would contain about 665 calories, double that in a magnum wine bottle.

What is the Average Alcohol Content in a Bottle of Red Wine?

Red wine alcohol percentage typically ranges from 12% to 15%, averaging around 13.5% ABV. This is generally higher than what you’ll find in white wines. Red wine grapes are often picked late in the harvest season, which means they contain more sugar than the grapes used for white wines. As a result, during fermentation, these sugars translate into a higher alcohol concentration in the red wine bottle.

HER Wine Collective

HER Wines is a pioneering wine enterprise that stands out in the South African wine industry for its all-black, all-female team. The entire journey of the wine, from vineyard to winemaking to bottling, marketing and distribution, is managed by an exceptional team of black women. Our incredible team values the sharing of knowledge, mutual inspiration, and building relationships within the varied communities of South Africa.

Bottle of wine - HER Wine Collection

HER WINES: Wines Available

HER Wine Collection Pinotage 2022: Leaves a lasting impression on the palate with its luscious, mature red berry flavours and fragrant, spicy undertones. This medium-bodied wine is characterised by its silky tannins. The ageing potential for our Pinotage is 1-5 years from the year of vintage.

HER Wine Collection Shiraz 2022: Featuring a blend of deep dark berry flavours and nuances of vanilla and spice, resulting in a captivating, complex wine. This medium-bodied offering possesses depth and leaves a long-lasting impression on the palate. Ageing potential for this wine is 1-5 years from the year of vintage.

HER Wine Sauvignon Blanc 2023: A fruity, zesty crowd-pleaser with flavours of passion fruit, pineapple and lemon and is best served chilled. Ageing potential for this bottle of wine is within 1 year from the year of vintage.

HER Wine Chenin Blanc 2023 is a bold, flavourful wine with tropical fruit aromas and flavours of yellow apple, green melon and white pear that’s guaranteed to delight and impress. Ageing potential for our Chein Blanc is 1-3 years after the year of vintage.

Chenin Blanc: An Insider’s Guide

Chenin Blanc: An Insider’s Guide

Chenin Blanc has a rich and captivating history, from its humble beginnings in France to its exciting journey to South African shores. But how did it become the most planted grape variety in South Africa, and what can you expect to discover when you open a bottle of Chenin Blanc? In this blog post, we will explore the origins of the variety, how it came to South Africa and how it has grown in popularity over the last few hundred years. We will also share with you the various styles and how they affect the flavour profile of the wine, as well as compare the flavours of Chenin Blanc to Sauvignon Blanc.

Chenin Blanc: A Historical Snapshot

The story of Chenin Blanc goes back as far as 845 with Charles le Chauve, also fondly known as Charles the Bald, who was the King of West Francia, King of Italy and Emperor of the Carolingian Empire. In one of his essays, he wrote about a variety called “plant d’Anjou” and mentioned donating it to the Saint-Maur de Glanfeuil Abbey in the Loire Valley, France.

When Charles became King of England and France, his court favoured serving Anjou wines and began purchasing these wines from the monasteries in the Loire Valley. The monasteries in this region of France each had their own enclosed plot of vines at this time and played a pivotal role in developing the Anjou-Saumur wine region that we know today. Due to the demand for Anjou wines, the vineyards began to expand rapidly, and in the 15th century the variety was exported to the Touraine region of the Loire Valley, where it was christened with a new name ‘Chenin Blanc’ in honour of Mont Chenin.

Anjou-Saumur wine region

The Journey to South Africa

Chenin Blanc has a rich and captivating story in wine history in South Africa, tracing its roots back to the year 1655. It’s believed that it was among the first vine cuttings introduced to the region during the era of Jan van Riebeeck, the Dutch colonial administrator who served as the Commander of the Cape from 1652-1662. The varieties brought included Fransdruif (Palomino), Groendruif (Semillon), and Steen (Chenin Blanc).

On the 2nd of February, 1659, the first pressing of these grapes took place and are believed to come from two-year-old vines grown from the cuttings that arrived on the ships Dordrecht and Parel. The assumption is that these documented pressings were of the Steen variety, made from the cuttings that arrived from France in 1656.

Chenin Blanc - Grapes being Harvested

The true identity of Steen remained a mystery until 1962 when Professor C.J. Orffer of Stellenbosch University found a revelation in Volume III of GALET. He came across the term ‘Franche’ and an illustration of a vine leaf that bore a striking resemblance to that of Steen. To confirm his hypothesis, he brought over Chenin Blanc shoots from the Loire region and grew them in South Africa. He then compared these leaves with those of Steen, and upon finding an exact match, he declared Steen to be the same as Chenin blanc which at the time was already widely cultivated in South Africa.

Cultivation in South Africa

Up until the early 1970s, Chenin Blanc was the main variety grown in the South African wine industry as there was an increased demand for clean, crisp and off-dry white wines that were fairly neutral in flavour. Chenin Blanc’s popularity hasn’t waivered, and in 2021, it was the most widely cultivated grape varieties in South Africa, with about 19,000 hectares recorded. 

Chenin Blanc Grapes

Chenin Blanc thrives in South Africa due to a combination of factors, including the climate, soil conditions, and the vinification methods used. South Africa’s climate is remarkably suitable for growing Chenin Blanc, and the grape is notably resistant to heat, but it particularly flourishes in regions where it can receive ample sunshine along with some cooling elements. The balance found in many South African wine regions allows the grape to ripen fully while still maintaining its trademark acidity.

In terms of soil, Chenin Blanc is adaptable to a variety of types, and the diversity across different wine regions allows for a wide range of expressions of the grape, which ultimately contributes to its versatility in style from dry and crisp to sweet and rich.

Person Holding Soil in Hands

The vinification methods employed by South African winemakers also play a significant role, and they have been incredibly successful in producing well-made Chenins that showcase impressive ageing potential by using both inoculated and natural fermentation processes. 

The establishment of the Chenin Blanc Association in 2000 has greatly contributed to the growth and development of this varietal in South Africa. The association has promoted the production of high-quality Chenin Blanc wines and aims to help boost the varietal on the international stage.

Flavour Profile

Chenin Blanc is a white grape variety that offers an exciting range of flavours and aromas, making it an appealing choice for wine enthusiasts. When young, this wine is fresh, crisp, and vibrant, with notable tastes of green apple, quince, and pear. Its high acidity gives it a zesty, refreshing quality that can be quite invigorating on the palate.

As Chenin Blanc ages, it evolves beautifully, developing more complex and layered flavours. The fresh green apple and pear notes mature into baked apple and ripe pear while the bright acidity mellows, allowing sweeter elements like honey to come forward. These changes bring an intriguing and satisfying depth of flavour to the wine.

Chenin Blanc - Wine Glass with Chenin

The winemaking style plays a key role in shaping the final profile of Chenin Blanc. When produced in a dry style, the wine can be lean and mineral-driven with a focus on its bright fruit flavours and high acidity. In contrast, when made in a richer style or allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation, Chenin Blanc can exhibit a creamy, full-bodied texture that balances its natural acidity with a luxurious richness. To enhance the complexity of the wine, winemakers may also choose to age Chenin Blanc in mature oak barrels as opposed to steel barrels to impart a smooth, butter-like flavour to the wine.

Whether you prefer your wine fresh and fruity or rich and complex, Chenin Blanc offers something for everyone. Its versatility, combined with its inherent charm and complexity, makes it a fascinating wine to explore.

Is Chenin Blanc Dry or Sweet?

The Chenin Blanc taste can exhibit a spectrum of flavours ranging from bone-dry to lusciously sweet, so the answer to the question ‘Is chenin blanc sweet or dry?’ will depend on the bottle you purchase. We recommend reading the tasting notes of the bottle you wish to try to ensure it aligns with your preferred level of sweetness. 

Below, you can see the broad array of styles that Chenin Blanc can provide, which only further highlights its versatility and adaptability:

  • Dry Style: The grapes undergo complete fermentation, which retains their freshness, resulting in a crisp, mineral-rich wine with hints of florals and flavours of tart pear, apple, quince, pepper and straw.
  • Off-dry Style: This style leaves some natural sugars unfermented in the wine, leading to a flavour profile of ripe pear, baked apple, peach, guava and honeysuckle.
  • Sweet Style: These tend to have flavours of tropical fruits, marmalade, honeycomb and ginger and with noble rot, these wines can provide hints of saffron and smoke.
  • Sparkling Style: Regardless of the level of sweetness of the sparkling wine, the flavours of quince, yellow apple, plum, ginger, and floral tones tend to shine through.
Chenin Blanc - Women Tasting Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc vs Sauvignon Blanc

When it comes to comparing Chenin vs Sauvignon Blanc, both are popular white grape varieties originating in France, yet each offers a unique set of characteristics and flavour profiles. The flavour profile of Chenin Blanc typically includes notes of quince, apple, pear, and honey when it’s made in a sweeter style. In a drier style, it might exhibit minerality with high acidity, featuring flavours like green apple, lime, and ginger.

Unlike Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc is usually made in a dry style and is rarely used to make sweet wines. It is known for its high acidity and intense aromatics. Classic flavour notes include green apple, gooseberry, passion fruit, and freshly cut grass. The average Chenin Blanc alcohol content tends to be around 13.5% ABV, whereas Sauvignon Blanc usually ranges from 12.5–14% ABV, depending on the style.

People Tasting White Wine

HER Wines

The HER Wine Collection is a trailblazer in South Africa’s wine industry. We are proud to be the first enterprise to be wholly owned and run by black women. Every step of our journey, from the nurturing vineyard to the exquisite bottle to production, marketing and distribution, is lovingly handled by black women. We recognise the intrinsic value of exchanging ideas, motivating one another and broadening our bonds throughout the beautifully diverse communities across South Africa.

Chenin Blanc - HER Wine Chenin Blanc

When opening a bottle of the Her Wine Collection Chenin Blanc, you can expect aromas of delicious tropical fruit followed by flavours of white pear, green melon, and yellow apple on the palate. Our Chenin Blanc is delicious as a food and wine pairing with fresh salads, pasta salads, light curries and cheese boards.

The HER Wine Bursary

Our all-female team at the HER Wine Collection recognises the challenges that need to be faced in order to attain professional success. We understand the uphill battle that young people face in carving their own path in this world, and this shared journey has sparked in us a desire to give a hand up. That is why we’ve pledged to give back 2% of our profits to a bursary fund that is dedicated to fostering the dreams of ambitious young minds, helping them turn their aspirations into reality.

All applicants who are eligible for this incredible scholarship come from families who are working on the vineyards that supply grapes for the HER Wine Collection. The chosen recipients will receive financial aid for their education, along with mentorship to guide them through the complexities involved in studying at a tertiary institution and establishing a career.

HER Wines Chenin Blanc

If you are looking to try some of the best Chenin Blanc in South Africa, then why not try the HER Wine Chenin Blanc? You can purchase our wines on our online shop, where our Chenin Blanc sells for only R90.00 per bottle, and if you choose to purchase a case, you will receive FREE shipping. To stay up to date with everything happening at HER Wine Collection, you can follow us on Instagram and Facebook. If you need more information or queries about our wines, please email us on or give us a call on 021 873 3170.

The World of Sauvignon Blanc: A Comprehensive Guide

The World of Sauvignon Blanc: A Comprehensive Guide

The words Sauvignon Blanc tend to bring to mind memories of warm summer days spent relaxing outside with friends. It is a globally cherished white grape varietal, which is famed for its distinct and diverse flavour profile. From crisp, grassy notes to rich, creamy undertones, this versatile grape produces an array of wines that captivate the senses, solidifying its worldwide appeal among wine connoisseurs and casual drinkers alike.

Couple Cheersing Wine

The History

Sauvignon Blanc (sometimes shortened to sauv blanc) is a widely recognised and universally appreciated grape varietal, and it gets its name from the French term ‘Sauvage’, translating to ‘wild’, so the Sauvignon Blanc meaning is ‘wild white (vine)’. The varietal came from France’s Loire Valley before making its way to South Africa.

The Sauvignon Blanc grape variety has a deep-rooted history in South Africa, with its cultivation dating back to as early as 1880 in Constantia. The oldest recognised block of this vine, however, is situated in Swartland and was planted around 1965.

Despite these early introductions, the prominence of Sauvignon Blanc did not immediately rise in South Africa’s wine industry. This was mainly due to the substandard planting materials that were disease-ridden, particularly by phylloxera. As a result, the growth and popularity of this variety remained dormant until the 1970s, when it started to gain momentum.

In present times, Sauvignon Blanc has carved a significant position in South Africa’s wine market. It now spans over 10,000 hectares, making up more than 10% of all vineyard areas in the country. It is also the fourth most cultivated grape variety in South Africa and contributes considerably to the annual local sale of 2.4 million cases of wine!

Sauvignon Blanc Vineyard Sign

What are the Characteristics of Sauvignon Blanc?

Sauvignon Blanc (here is a useful video on the Sauvignon Blanc pronunciation) is a white grape variety known for its distinctive and vibrant flavour profile. The first sip of a Sauvignon Blanc typically offers a punchy, zesty taste characterised by high acidity that leaves a tingle on the palate. This acidity often manifests as a crisp, fresh citrus flavour reminiscent of lime or grapefruit. However, depending on where the grapes are grown, you might also detect flavours of green apple, pear, or even tropical fruits like passionfruit.

The aroma of this wine is equally intriguing and varied. It often exudes a fresh, green, herbaceous scent, hinting at grass, bell peppers, or even jalapenos. Some describe it as having a ‘green’ smell, akin to fresh-cut grass or dew-kissed leaves. In warmer climates, the aroma can be more tropical, with hints of melon, mango, or papaya.

Another unique characteristic of white wine Sauvignon Blanc is its minerality. Wines made from these grapes often have a flinty or chalky undertone, adding complexity and depth to the overall flavour profile. This minerality can also lend a slightly bitter finish, which perfectly complements the fruit-forward nature of the wine.

HER Wines 2023 Sauvignon Blanc, with its hints of freshly cut grass, green apple, and juicy grapefruit and granadilla flavours, presents itself with a crisp and zesty flavour profile. It truly is one of the best Sauvignon Blanc in South Africa, with its good price point and delicious flavours.

Sauvignon Blanc - HER Wine Sauvignon Blanc

How Versatile is Sauvignon Blanc?

Sauvignon Blanc is a highly adaptable grape variety, exhibiting different styles of wine depending on the climate and winemaking techniques used. This versatility is one of its most appealing characteristics among winemakers. Here is how the climate can affect the final Sauvignon Blanc taste:

Cooler Climates

In cooler climates, Sauvignon Blanc wine is often light-bodied, high in acidity, and exhibits pronounced mineral and herbaceous flavours. These wines are typically unoaked and have vibrant notes of green apple, gooseberry, and lime, coupled with a distinctive grassy aroma.

Warmer Climates

In contrast, Sauvignon Blanc produces fuller-bodied wines with riper, more tropical fruit flavours such as passionfruit, guava, and peach. These wines may also be aged in oak barrels, resulting in a richer, creamier texture and adding nuanced flavours of vanilla and toast to the wine’s profile.

Is Sauvignon Blanc Sweet?

Sauvignon Blanc can be sweet as it is also used in the production of sweet dessert wines. It is often blended with Sémillon and Muscadelle and affected by noble rot, creating a lush, honeyed wine with complex flavours of apricot, fig, and nuts.

Vineyards in South Africa are known to produce late harvest and noble rot wines using 100% Sauvignon Blanc. These unique wines boast flavour profiles and scents of fig, quince, apricot, caramelised ginger, almond paste, and orange peel. This version of Sauvignon Blanc presents a sweet taste, balanced beautifully with a gentle, vibrant acidity.

Whether it’s a crisp, refreshing summer sipper, a rich, oaky white, or a decadent dessert wine, Sauvignon Blanc’s adaptability allows it to deliver a diverse range of styles catering to various palates.

What Foods Should You Pair Sauvignon Blanc With?

Because Sauvignon Blancs can contain such different flavour profiles depending on where they are grown, it means that they can also be paired with a wide variety of foods. Here are examples of how to pair dishes based on the flavour profile of the Sauvignon Blanc you’ll be drinking:

Citrus Flavours

This flavour profile harmonises well with fish dishes, either grilled or fried. It enhances the flavours of Greek and Mexican meals and works well with dishes featuring fresh ingredients like avocados, tomatoes and olives.

Strong Minerality

This style excels when matched with uncomplicated, subtly seasoned foods. Consider pairing it with raw or lightly cooked shellfish such as oysters and prawns and plainly grilled fish like sea bass. It also pairs nicely with dishes that include raw or lightly cooked tomatoes, like gazpacho or tomato vinaigrettes, as well as goat cheeses.

Oaked Sauvignon Blanc

This variety pairs wonderfully with white meats like chicken or veal, particularly when they’re served with a creamy sauce. It complements spring vegetables such as asparagus and peas or pasta dishes enriched with spring vegetables and creamy sauces. It also works well with simply prepared seafood or lightly smoked fish.

Wine and Pasta

Grassy Flavours

This flavour profile is an excellent match for salads, especially those featuring seafood or ingredients like asparagus, green peppers, and herbs.

Food Pairing for HER Wines Sauvignon Blanc

The HER Wine Collection Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp and zesty crowd pleaser. Great served chilled with a fresh green salad or crispy grilled chicken, turning an ordinary day into a memorable one.

About HER Wines

HER Wines is a groundbreaking wine company that is both all-black and all-female, making it a truly unique presence in the South African wine industry. What sets HER Wines apart is not only the fact that the wine is crafted by a talented black and female winemaker, but also that the entire process (from cultivation to production, marketing to distribution) is carried out by black women. This collective of remarkable individuals recognises the power of knowledge-sharing, mutual inspiration, and fostering connections within the diverse communities of South Africa.

The HER Wine Bursary: Making Dreams Come True

At HER Wine Collection, an all female winemaking company, our team has personally encountered and overcome significant obstacles on our journey to professional success. These experiences have provided us with a deep understanding of the challenges that young individuals face as they strive to find their place in the world. Inspired by this, we are committed to making a positive impact by donating 2% of our profits to a bursary fund. This fund aims to support young, ambitious, and talented individuals in achieving their dreams and aspirations.

The scholarship is open to applicants from families currently employed on the vineyards that supply grapes for the HER Wine Collection. The selected recipients will not only receive financial aid for their education, but also benefit from mentorship to navigate the intricacies of tertiary education and establish a successful career path.

Buy HER Sauvignon Blanc

If you are looking for Sauvignon Blanc brands to try, then don’t miss out on our 2023 Sauvignon Blanc, priced at only R90.00 a bottle. You can purchase it right here on our website and you will qualify for FREE shipping if you buy any 12 bottles of wine. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on everything at HER wines, and if you need any more information, then give us a call on +27 (0) 21 873 3170 or email

Sauvignon Blanc - HER Wine